Coca-Cola says plastic bottle deposit scheme should be UK-wide

13th October 2017 | Recycling

Drinks giant Coca-Cola says any proposed plastic bottle deposit scheme should be UK-wide, MPs have heard. Nick Brown, head of sustainability for Coca-Cola Europe, said that in such a scheme the empty bottles become a “form of currency”.

And he committee were told that if deposits varied between Scotland and England, people would have an incentive to cross borders to get more money. Environment Secretary Michael Gove suggested a scheme earlier this month.

He said that it would boost recycling and in the process protect marine life from plastic waste.

Plastic Bottle Deposit

The scheme involves consumers paying a small surcharge, which would be refunded when bottles are returned. In the past Coca-Cola has opposed the idea, but in February reversed its position to support a planned scheme in Scotland.

Mr Brown told the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, “We have seen that other countries which have a deposit scheme have improved recovery rates of packaging and reduced littering, which is important to us. We understand that things need to change both with household waste collection and packaging on-the-go. We think a deposit scheme can work in that context.”

Mr Brown stressed the importance of any scheme being UK-wide: “Packaging effectively becomes a currency in these types of schemes. The cross-border flow of materials is very important and needs to be designed into the scheme.”

John Mayhew, Director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, which leads a campaign for a plastic bottle deposit scheme in Scotland, said it was particularly important the levels of the deposit should be the same for neighbouring countries to prevent people crossing the border to gain a greater deposit return.

However he suggested the use of barcodes could prevent bottles being cashed-in in a different country to where they were bought.

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